2014 is Teamdonk’s year to achieve the allusive1,000 Logged Driving Miles. Unofficially that lofty goal has already been obtained, but what I want to see is that distance officially logged from the start date of July 6, 2006 until the day in 2014 when our goal happens. All the times and distances have been successfully obtained thru several Garmin GPS monitors and more recently backed up with the Run Time App on my smart phone plus another person, beside myself, recording Teamdonk’s time and distance.
Lately I’ve been thinking about all the different vehicles and the driving donkeys, that have led us to this destination. First the carriages. I started off with two, a metal cart and a red and black four wheeled antique coal box buggy with a few features that I never did like. That little metal cart was soon replaced with a brand new Pacific Carriage Gig with a suspended line of draft, which is an amazing vehicle and to this day a favorite for the taller team. A ten foot Robert’s Wagonette became the vehicle for Dev and Liberty to pull, but proved to be too heavy for our steep prairie roads. This vehicle was replaced with a new Robert’s Trail Buggy that was later set up for three and four abreast driving and has proven to be a fun reliable vehicle. Then it was back to Pacific Carriage, this time to add a new Show Cart which soon became my all time off road field driving favorite for the 56 inch singles and teams. Later we added a beautiful two seater buckboard for parades. I am hoping to turn that buckboard into a wagon for trail drives this year, anyone in need of this beautiful vehicle?
My very first Donkey drive was with Luc in July 2004. At that time he was in Driver’s Ed Training in Hamilton, Montana with Jack and Helen Eden. Luc, myself and Jack went cruising around the neighborhood shortly after Luc began driving as a single. We used the harness that Janelle Reiger, Luc’s breeder, had made and that I continue to use to this day. I had taken it apart and when I put it back together I accidentally switched the trace carriers, also known as lazy straps, with the shaft holders. On our way back the lazy strap came apart and one of the shafts on my first little metal cart was unsupported, as I remember there was some baling twine involved in getting us safely home. Luc took it in stride and we made it home just fine before the other one came apart also. They were meant to support the traces not carry the shafts! That was extremely lucky!
Luc’s next drive with me, was about a month later just before we brought him home, that drive took place in a parade with Jack riding along beside me for moral support. I guess he figured if we could do a parade together we could make it as a driving team! This photo was taken about a year later with Luc pulling the Gig and carrying the Grand Marshall of Idaho’s Oldest Rodeo Celebration! Luc and I showed in mule and donkey shows, State Fairs and many parades across three western states for much of his early driving career.
Blue Mountain Endeavor was my second driving donkey. He gave me a lot of heart pounding drives. He was like the little girl with the curl, when he was good he was very very good… but when he was bad…. OMG! That turned out to be harness and later medical problems.
Mas Ass Acres Liberty was a driving gem. He didn’t always want to go as a single, again it was that same harness that had always given me fits, so he and Dev became my very first team. I’ll never forget that first team drive with the Robert’s wagonette and a brand new unfitted harness from the local harness maker. Thank goodness they were donkeys, I don’t think you could make that many mistakes with a team of horses and get away with it. Erin was my much needed helper, so much of my early donkey driving could not have been done without her!~
OK Sir Galahad was my first trainee. We took it slow and careful and tried to introduce Galahad to everything he would need to know before that first hitch. This time it was Robert who was there to help every step along the way. His first hitch was with Luc as a team to the Pacific Cart. That was not only Galahad’s first drive but was my first time hitching a team to a two wheeled cart. The miles and the great times with those two have been recorded over and over in the Teamdonk Blogs. This photo was taken on Galahad’s second drive.
June 2009 marked the purchase of RMS Magical Merlin from Janelle Rieger, Luc’s breeder, who trained Merlin to drive for me. I started driving Merlin and Hank together in the spring of 2011. Here they are just four drives into their driving career.
Handsome Hank Bishop came on board and again it was Robert who helped me to convince Hank he really did want to be a driving donkey. Hank won out in the end and is a happy Therapy Donkey enjoying a life with kids and Fjords in Montana.
This year we begin with Montana’s Alerrt Marshall, who is a trained driving donkey who needed a job. He will just need a refresher before hitching him with Merlin, who should give him the confidence to get past all the spooks. These two should be a fun forward moving team. This is our ground driving session the first day we met.
Officially my butt only needs to sit in the box behind a moving team of donkeys for 29.57 miles or approximately five more drives. What will be the date, who will I be driving, how will we celebrate? I’m hoping you are here with us as we count down the remaining miles. Come on summer… let’s get this show on the road! Remember it’s the journey not the destination, okay just this once it is the destination!
For a larger view of most the photos simply click on them. Thank you to everyone who has helped with this donkey driving journey, I really could not have done this without you!
OK Sir Galahad has really gotten into the Winter Olympics, he decided that the games are a nice diversion from the seriousness of winter. He has been practicing skiing, ice skating, jumping off the hillsides and soaring through the air all with perfect landings. It’s all been fun and games but until recently he was having a hard time finding a venue he could excel in.. Yesterday he showed up after a practice session for what he considers his best event. Mud Rolling! It really is all my fault as I showed him this photo posted on the Teamdonk’s Facebook page. My bad!
Before the serious practice sessions began, Galahad looked very handsome in his winter strawberry roan attire.
This is Galahad, also known as Pigpen, as he practices for the Mud Rolling Competition. He sez he’s ready for Sochi, bring it on!
After six days clean dry hay remains in the Klene Pipe Structure H-8 feeder, the weather conditions are telling us to feed a new bale today as it is going to get nasty again soon.
Jim is able to place a round bale from either the top or the bottom of the feeder. With John Deere’s help the bale slides right into the feeder over top of the remaining hay.
The only thing left to do is to take the bale strings off, close the gate and turn the Teamdonk gang loose. Feeding is done for another week!
First let’s go back in time and remember how it looked before the Klene Hay Feeder! This was day two on a 750 pound round bale. Look at the waste and the mess! Even more important this feeder has become very dangerous, even for calm quiet donkeys that are careful not to hurt themselves. It had served it’s purpose and what we wanted was a better replacement.
With four mammoth donkeys working on all sides and one going over the top of the grills, there is still not much waste, even on day four.
This was a four foot round bale and for perspective this is one of our 56 inch mammoth donkeys, Okay Sir Galahad. We have had periods of snow the past four days but the bale remains nice and dry!
The temperatures have been down to minus 18 at night with single digits during the day so the boys are eating to stay warm. It’s not going to take them long to finish off this round bale, probably just another day. Next week the Pacific Northwest forecast is calling for a warm up with rain and wind, again we expect the hay to stay mostly dry. It is so nice to have it off the wet ground!, that is a huge bonus!
Thanks Klene Pipe Structures for a quality product that fits the needs of feeding livestock! Check out the other great products at www.KlenePipe.com or just call for a brochure 1-800-876-9721 tell them Teamdonk in Idaho sent you!
For a closer look at the photos click on the picture to increase their size.
Oh it was a fun filled day here in North Central Idaho. A day made to play in the new snow after chowing down from the new hay feeder.
This went on quite a while. Gave me a good chance to see how Marshall is interacting with the Teamdonk gang. It starts with Marshall going to see what the other three are up to. Luc as you will see is just full of himself. Even showing dominance over Merlin. Luc’s little 56 inches has brought the 60 inch Merlin more than once to his knees! Marshall and Galahad squared off until Galahad said okay enough, I’m otta here!
Our Klene Pipe Feeder, a H-8 for horses, arrived looking like this. Delivered by a local trucking company, it came right out of the truck, with no damage and set exactly where Jim needed it.
This was a one man operation from start to finish. Would have been great to have a second guy around to help. But it is do-able!
It went together the first day in just a few hours, leaving Jim plenty of time to go skiing.
The second day was gathering materials and getting the big boards up for the roof, that in it’s self was a huge project for one guy. This photo is after the second day.
Drilling, getting the bolts installed and starting on the roof was the next day’s project. The final braces, a total of 11, the sheeting and finally the tin went on the fourth day.
A round bale was loaded on the front of the tractor, and the feeder was behind when it went to the pasture. Once set it was easy to place the bale inside. Jim located it on a little bit of a slope and right in front of a large picture window so even at night we can see who is at the feeder.
The fun began when the boys were turned loose, round and round the feeder they went. Finally one of them bumped it and we had four mammoth donkeys in an all out panicked run. They got as far as their pasture shelter and decided to walk back.
Marshall was the first to reach in and grab a mouthful of hay. The other three started pulling it out of his mouth… worked for them! Marshall started reaching into the hay, pulling out a chuck, dropping it to the ground to feed his buddies! The other three were scoring the easy way! They had it figured out within the first hour.
Overnight we received three inches of snow with winds strong enough to blow it through the breezeway of the old barn. What was left of the old bale was still in the round bale feeder and it was packed with snow. The new bale, in the Klene feeder, was free of snow and the boys were happily munching away.
As the boys devour the hay the gravity controlled grills will follow the hay down to the wooden base. What a great design. The sides can also be brought back up to block them from over eating and let down when it is chow time. Great concept, quality materials, we are thrilled with the last feeder we will ever have to invest in! The hay stays off the ground, and with the larger roof, I can see them using this as summer shade also.
Check out the other great products at www.KlenePipe.com or just call for a brochure 1-800-876-9721
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